Nagaland Chief Minister, TR Zeliang and others at the inaugural session of the North East Connectivity Summit in Kohima on September 22.
Kohima | September 22
Nagaland Chief Minister, TR Zeliang today urged the Government of Japan, who has expressed keen interest in the North East for investments, to also fund infrastructure road connectivity in the state with its hi-tech modern technology, given that the region is beset with poor soil stability and high incidence of monsoon rains.
“Japan can accelerate the Government of India’s Act East Policy to open up the South East Asian market through North East region states by investing in road connectivity infrastructure network development,” he said, at the inaugural function of the NE Connectivity Summit with special focus on “Act East through Nagaland.”
The 2-day long summit was organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) with Government of Nagaland as host and supported by the Ministries of External Affairs, DoNER and Road Transport & Highway.
Pointing out that Nagaland shares around 215 km of international border and the NE states together share over 5300 kms border with 5 different countries, he said “this provides us with an opportunity to transform our economies by developing connectivity with these countries.”
With right focus on connectivity infrastructure and cooperation with neighbouring countries, NE can easily become a major trading and economic hub, connecting South East Asia and the ASEAN countries, he said. The CM added: “To do this however, massive investments are required in infrastructure, connectivity and processing industry.”
The CM also strongly felt that India’s Act East Policy should aim to achieve better connectivity for the NE region. He maintained that the most practicable and convenient road and rail connectivity between India and South East Asian countries should run through Nagaland to Moreh border town via Imphal.
He also felt that mega projects like the trans-Eurasian Highway and the Trans Asian Railway, which will pass through North Eastern areas, would be a boost towards this end. “In addition to this, we can also access the markets of the ASEAN countries through Myanmar and for this reason it is very important to build physical connectivity linkages with Myanmar as well as people to people connectivity,” he said.
The CM particularly expressed enthusiasm at the FICCI proposal advocating for a North East ring Road. “This is one proposal that the Government of India and the states of the region must consider with great seriousness,” he said.
Building durable roads
a major challenge
North Eastern Council (NEC) Secretary Ram Muivah said that building durable roads in the region is a major challenge, where hill slopes of the road formation are susceptible to landslides, since the geological formation of the hills in the NE are very young.
Terming landslides as one of the biggest challenges in the NE, he added that construction costs are high as construction materials are often required to brought from far away quarries and factories. The lack of skill laborers in the area, he stated, also affects the workmanship of the construction as well leading to delay in completion of the projects.
He informed that the NEC is contemplating the introduction of Gabion Box technology for construction of protection works such as breast wall, river retaining works etc. This will be easier and faster when compared to conventional stone masonary, he added.
Muivah further stated that the proposed Greenfield airports at Rüzhaphema and Itanagar need to be taken up expeditiously while completion of Pakyong Airport should be expedited at the earliest. “NE states have missed the green revolution as well as IT revolution. Now is the time for infrastructure revolution and we should not miss the bus this time,” he asserted.
Japan to contribute to the
development of NE region
Kenko Sone, Minister of Economics, from the Embassy of Japan also spoke during the summit and said that given the considering the strategic and economic importance of the NE, Japan was committed to contribute to the development of the region.
He announced that Japan would like to expand their cooperation in the NE further to reinforce the friendship among Japan, the NE, India and neighboring countries “so that each of us can enjoy the synergy created by improved connectivity.”